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Nice to meet you. I’m Michelle and since we’ve just met, there are three things you should know about me:

  1. I believe in telling the truth, even though it’s sometimes uncomfortable.
  2. I believe life is too short to live in a way that suppresses who you really are.
  3. I’m practical, not theoretical. I speak from experience. Not all my experiences were good, not all of them were (at all) admirable, but I learned from each one. Whether the story was feel-good, regrettable or hilarious, I will share it honestly with you.

There are two reasons I’m starting this blog. The first is because the art of courage changes lives – it changed (and continues to change) mine. The second is that I’m writing a book and I’d like you to read it, but more on that in a later post.

There’s a reason I speak on the topic of courage, and I do believe it’s an art, as it must be conceived and expressed in a manner that’s genuine for you.  I know what it’s like to feel scared. Sad. Like an imposter. Not good enough. Not smart enough. A victim of circumstance. Riddled with shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Branded and manipulated by religious dogma. Realistically, I could’ve done what was expected and met the approval of everyone from my family to employers, but I wanted one simple thing that I couldn’t seem to find in spite of my efforts:

True happiness.

I knew it was possible, but to have it, I had to make choices.  And making choices takes courage.

I’m not standing on a rock proclaiming I’m some courageous martyr – quite the opposite, actually. Courage is a daily decision. I practice choosing it with every breath. With every situation. With every surge of fear. Is it easy? Not always. Even my choice to write this blog and be candid with you is a huge step out of my comfort zone.  Just the act of clicking “post” (which is more challenging than you may realize – I think walking down the street naked could be easier) takes courage.

I’ve always remembered something that my grandmother said to me in my early twenties just before I embarked on my first trip through Europe: “Michelle, a life without risk isn’t a life…it’s an existence.  Someone like you doesn’t have to exist. LIVE.”

I can tell you that I started really LIVING when I acknowledged a few truths:

I could be a realist, but also an optimist.

I could be spiritual, without being religious.

I could be soft, without being a doormat.

I could be assertive, without being aggressive.

I could be incredibly loving, without allowing myself to be taken advantage of.

I was blessed with humour, common sense, a love for art and words, and an adventurous spirit. Why was I not using these tools to live a more authentic life; one that was more reflective of who I felt I really was?

Bottom line is that I don’t want to go through life a prisoner in my own skin. I don’t want you to either. We’ll both enjoy life more if we’re being our true selves. Let’s embrace our light and our dark. Let’s permit ourselves to be the people we believe we are, utilizing our gifts and passions, even if it doesn’t meet everyone’s approval. Let’s be courageous enough to be honest – with all of life’s folly, ugliness, and awesome, divine beauty. And please, let’s laugh and learn from it, shall we?

May you allow the stories and tips in this blog assist you in living in a more courageous, happy, authentic life.

Let’s do this!